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Cancer Services: Deterioration

Part of Opposition Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 18th October 2016.

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Photo of Pat Sheehan Pat Sheehan Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 18th October 2016

I welcome the opportunity to speak. It is important that any debate of this nature should be balanced and fair. It is right that political representatives should highlight deficiencies in the healthcare system, but it is also very important that we accentuate the positive aspects of healthcare and that we are judicious in our language. We should be judicious because there are patients out there who are fearful, and we should not do or say anything that would make people who are already vulnerable or apprehensive feel even more insecure. Likewise, we need to be careful that our words, even indirectly, do not demoralise healthcare professionals and workers.

However, it is clear that the Opposition do not concur with those sentiments. The motion that they have brought to the Floor of the Assembly today is, quite frankly, a dog's dinner. It contains inaccuracies and misinformation. It is loaded with hyperbole and is an exercise in scaremongering. Breast cancer is the hook that the Opposition have used to hang this motion on and, to do so, it focuses on one small geographical area at one short period of time. In short, it is just a snapshot.